Tag: Groundwater

Tribes’ Federal Water Rights Include Groundwater—But How Much?

Co-authored by Wes Miliband and guest-blogger Hayley K. Siltanen The Ninth Circuit recently ruled that federal reserved water rights held by Indian tribes extend to groundwater underlying reservation lands. Determining the quantity of that groundwater, however, is reserved for another day. In Aqua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians v. Coachella Valley Water District, the Ninth … Continue Reading

With SB 1262, SGMA Becomes Further Entrenched in California’s Water Supply Planning Laws

With Senate Bill 1262 (“SB 1262”), California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (“SGMA”) has become firmly rooted into the State’s water supply planning laws. Specifically, SB 1262 amends the Water Supply Assessment statute (commonly referred to as “SB 610”) and the Written Verification statute (commonly referred to as “SB 221”). Background – SB 610 & SB … Continue Reading

Does California Bear A Water “Windfall” From Deep-Aquifer Sources?

Stanford University released a study this week stating that California has three times more useable groundwater located in deep aquifers than previously estimated.  This might come as welcome news to a state that continues to suffer through a historic drought.  The researchers found that fresh groundwater was available at depths previously thought to be too … Continue Reading

New Regulations for California Groundwater Management

California has moved one step closer to implementing the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (“SGMA”), California’s landmark groundwater legislation. On Wednesday, May 18, the California Water Commission adopted a set of regulations that will govern the creation of groundwater sustainability plans (“GSPs”) by local Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (“GSAs”). The emergency regulations, developed by the Department of … Continue Reading

Aquifer Protection Act – Slowing the Flow from California Aquifers

Despite the wet start of 2016, many parts of California continue to face severe water shortages.  The state has grown ever more tapped with groundwater production wells as Californians seek to utilize aquifers to meet their water needs.  However, experts have warned that this modern-day “gold rush” for water from underground aquifers may carry serious … Continue Reading

Fish versus Farms: Proposed Federal Legislation Seeks a Balance for California Water Supplies

On Wednesday, February 10, Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer (Dem.-California) introduced a draft bill with the explicit purpose to “provide short-term water supplies to drought-stricken California and provide for long-term investments in drought resiliency throughout the Western United States.”  Entitled, “California Long-Term Provisions for Water Supply and Short-Term Provisions for Emergency Drought Relief Act” … Continue Reading

California Water Webinar Series on the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA)

Earlier this week, environmental consultant Susanne Heim of Panorama Environmental and Stoel Rives water lawyer Wes Miliband hosted the second part of the California Water Webinar series about the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). In this webinar, Susanne and Wes covered implications of the recently adopted emergency regulations to amend groundwater basin boundaries, as well … Continue Reading

DWR Put’s Money Where Its Mouth Is In Ag Water Efficiency Grant Program

California’s unique geography and climate have allowed the State to become one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world. Over a third of the country’s vegetables and two-thirds of the country’s fruits and nuts are grown in California. In an average year California’s agricultural industry irrigates 9.6 million acres using roughly 34 million … Continue Reading

Environmental Activists Attack State Water Resources Control Board Order Approving Oil Industry Wastewater Disposal Methods

On August 28, Earthjustice filed a petition with the State Water Resources Control Board (“Water Board”) seeking to overturn a Central Valley Regional Water Board (“Regional Board”) order allowing an oil and gas wastewater disposal company to maintain their ongoing waste water operations, which can employ unlined disposal pits in Kern County. Valley Water Management … Continue Reading

Fate of Injection Wells in Historically Exempt Aquifers Comes Closer to Determination

A lawsuit seeking an immediate halt to oil and gas wastewater injection at 2,500 wells across California took a positive turn for energy producers last week as Superior Court Judge George C. Hernandez denied plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction in a closely watched case challenging long-standing operations in the California oil and gas industry. … Continue Reading

Water Board Signs Off on New Fracking Requirements

Yesterday, July 7, the State Water Resources Control Board (“Water Board”) adopted new requirements (“Model Criteria”) for groundwater monitoring in areas where oil and gas stimulation activities occur, such as hydraulic fracturing. The Water Board was required to develop these requirements pursuant to Senate Bill 4 (“SB 4”). The requirements cover a wide range of … Continue Reading

To Curtail Or Not To Curtail…That Is the Question

On June 12, the State Water Board issued a notice of “unavailability of water” and the “need for immediate curtailment” from various water users holding pre-1914 water rights.  Less than two weeks later on June 23, lawyers for the State Water Board reportedly stated in court this curtailment notice is advisory only, which would seem to … Continue Reading

State Water Board Receives Groundwater Monitoring Recommendations from Experts

The State Water Resources Control Board (“Water Board”) has recently released recommendations from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (“LLNL”) on Model Criteria for Groundwater Monitoring. Pursuant to Senate Bill 4 (“SB 4”), the Water Board is required to develop regulations for sampling, testing, and monitoring groundwater during hydraulic fracturing operations. The bill requires groundwater monitoring … Continue Reading

Industry and Environmental Groups Make Pitch to Water Board Regarding Draft Model Criteria for Groundwater Monitoring

On Tuesday, May 19, 2015, the State Water Resources Control Board (“Water Board”) held a Public Workshop regarding the proposed Draft Model Criteria for Groundwater Monitoring (“Model Criteria”). In this meeting, the Water Board heard comments from stakeholders who voiced their support or concern regarding the Model Criteria. Dr. Steven Bohlen, the State Oil & … Continue Reading

Lawsuit Seeks to Halt Oil Industry Wastewater Disposal Practices

On Thursday, May 7, 2015, two environmental groups filed a lawsuit seeking an immediate halt to oil and gas wastewater injection at 2,500 wells across California. The suit, filed by the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity, claims that the state Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (“DOGGR”) should be prohibited from … Continue Reading

Water Board Issues Proposed Draft Model Criteria for Groundwater Monitoring

On April 29, 2015, the State Water Resources Control Board (“Water Board”) issued a Notice of Opportunity for Public Comment and Notice of Public Workshop regarding the proposed Draft Model Criteria for Groundwater Monitoring (“Model Criteria”) for areas of oil and gas well stimulation. Senate Bill 4 requires groundwater monitoring for all oil and gas … Continue Reading

Letter Urges Oil & Gas Wastewater Well Shut-Ins due to Risk of Groundwater Contamination; Regulators Stick to Rulemaking

On March 20, Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) wrote a letter to Governor Jerry Brown requesting that his administration immediately shut down approximately 2,500 underground injection wells.  The letter was signed by seven other legislators and urges that these wells must be closed until “all appropriate aquifer exemptions have been issued by the US EPA … Continue Reading

Regulators Confirm: No Drinking Water Contamination from Oil & Gas Disposal Wells

On Tuesday, March 10, California Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Matthew Rodriquez and California Natural Resources Agency (“CNRA”) Secretary John Laird testified before a joint State Senate committee hearing.  At the hearing before the Natural Resources & Water Committee and the Environmental Quality Committee, Rodriguez and Laird confirmed that there has been no drinking water contamination due to … Continue Reading

Oil & Gas Wastewater Injection Wells Closed Down as a Precautionary Measure to Ensure Drinking Water Protection

On Tuesday, March 3, twelve underground injection control (“UIC”) wells in California’s Central Valley, specifically in Kern County, were shut down in order to protect subsurface drinking water from potential contamination.  These shut-ins occurred just one day after a letter from Matthew Rodriquez, Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency, to the Governor was published, … Continue Reading

DOGGR to Review Well Stimulation Regulations to Ensure Compliance with Safe Drinking Water Act

On Friday, July 18, 2014, the Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (“DOGGR”) announced that it will review California’s Underground Injection Control (“UIC”) Program to ensure compliance with the requirements of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act (“the Act”).  DOGGR has primary authority under the Act to regulate underground injection wells, … Continue Reading

Central Valley Long Term Irrigated Lands Program

The California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Central Valley Region (Board) has recently released its long anticipated Long Term Irrigated Lands Program.  The Board at its April 2010 meeting will consider the framework of the Program, a Programmatic EIR and a continuation of the current general order for another 3 years.  The proposed framework is for … Continue Reading
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